As adults, gone are the nights of trick-or-treating with friends and plunging hands into bowls of spaghetti guts. Grownups need a different kind of candy. The adult version of trick-or-treating involves taking in the blood-spurting practical effects of Lucio Fulci’s zombies and Stanley Kubrick’s anxiety-laden films. Here are the essential horror film screenings around Minneapolis this October.
The Beyond (1981)
Director Lucio Fulci is known as “The Godfather of Gore” for a reason. The Beyond, also known as Seven Doors of Death, came at a time when Italian horror movies were too busy trying to copy the success of American hits like The Exorcist (Fulci himself made his name by directing an unofficial sequel to George A. Romero’s Dawn of The Dead). The Beyond breaks out of this copycat mentality, and is widely considered his best work. The plot involves a young woman from Louisiana who inherits a creepy hotel. Bizarre accidents start happening, and it’s revealed that the hotel is built over one of the seven doorways to hell. The plot isn’t necessarily bad, but the film really shines in its over-the-top special effects. You can expect a thumb gouging an eye out, tarantulas dissolving some dude’s face off, and a bunch of undead people roaming around a hotel.
Why it’s scary: It’s equal parts unnerving and comical to watch old special effects unfold. Couple that feeling with a spooky soundtrack, and it creates a uniquely discomforting atmosphere that almost feels nostalgic.
When and where it’s screening: Trylon microcinema, 7 and 9 p.m. Monday, October 26, and Tuesday, October 27.
Crimson Peak (2015)
A few months ago, it was announced that director Guillermo Del Toro would be working closely with Hideo Kojima to produce a new Silent Hill game starring Norman Reedus. And then, to the mega-disappointment of horror fans, the project was abruptly canned. Del Toro had confirmed that Japanese horror master Junji Ito was involved in the project as well, which made the game’s sudden cancellation a double punch to the gut. However, Del Toro's Crimson Peak looks like it may fill the void. An author grappling with a recent family trauma moves away to live with a seductive new husband, who lives in a crumbling haunted house with breathing, bleeding walls. The movie takes place in late 19th-century England, a fresh setting for a contemporary horror film. Adding to its hype, Crimson Peak has received glowing accolades from Stephen King, who tweeted that the film was, “gorgeous and just fucking terrifying.”
Why it’s scary: Victorian-style houses are creepy enough without putting a bunch of blood-spewing faucets in them. Imagine the unsettling imagery from Pan’s Labyrinth, but amplified.
When and where it’s screening: The theatrical release on Friday, October 16.
The Shining (1980)
While Stephen King gave a big thumb's up to Crimson Peak, he did not do the same with Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his book The Shining. “I'd admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result," he told Playboy back in 1983. "Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fall flat.” Whether you agree with King or not, there’s no denying the power of The Shining’s iconic scenes. The movie follows Jack Torrance’s downward spiral into madness. Jack, a recovering alcoholic, takes his wife and son to the isolated Overlook Hotel to spend the winter as caretaker. When the hotel becomes snowed in, things go bad. A supernatural presence tempts him to murder his wife and psychic son, who’s dealing with startling visions.
Why it’s scary: The Shining is claustrophobic and tense. There are several images that last mere seconds, but still traumatized thousands.
When and where it’s screening: Uptown Theatre at midnight on Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17.
Midnight on both dates
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby frequently makes the cut on scariest movies of all time lists. It tells a psychologically haunting story of a young pregnant woman living next to elderly who turn out to be leaders of a Satanic cult. Her husband, an aspiring actor, makes a deal with the group to accelerate his success. From there, the devil impregnates Rosemary, and things get really, really awful. The film is considered by many to be cursed. Shortly after its release, the composer died from a blood clot in his brain (a character in the movie suffers the same fate). Writer and director Roman Polanski bought a house with his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, a year after the film’s release. While Polanski was on a trip, Charles Manson sent his cult to murder Polanski’s wife and four others. Chilling
Why it’s scary: The film deals with a variety of psychological traumas which are downright horrifying. Knowing that there are creepy connections between the movie and real life makes watching Rosemary’s Baby an unsettling experience.
When and where it’s screening: Trylon microcinema, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, October 23, and Saturday, October 24, plus 5 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 25.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
There are movies that are about cults, and there are movies that form cults. Saying that The Rocky Horror Picture Show has a cult following would be an understatement. This horror/comedy/musical holds the title for longest theatrical run because of its rabid fanbase of costumed performers who interact with the movie. The film centers on a couple that stumbles upon a castle after their car breaks down. Inside is a group of lavishly dressed weirdos and their leader, Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry in an iconic, transgender role). Richard O’Brien, the writer and composer of the film, identifies as trans, and has been outspoken about breaking down gender cultural norms. It’s a necessary Halloween movie-going experience, made even more necessary by shadow casts such as Transvestite Soup. The group performs at Uptown's Rocky Horror at the end of every month, but Halloween is special for obvious reasons.
Why it’s scary: It’s not really scary! This would be a good movie to go to if you’re not into being spooked, but still want to feel the Halloween vibes.
When and where it’s screening: The live shadow cast performances by Transvestite Soup are at Uptown Theater at midnight on Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31.
Also screening this season:
At Uptown Theatre:
Midnight October 9-10
A Nightmare On Elm Street 2
Midnight Saturday, October 24
At Lagoon Cinemas:
Eyes Wide Shut
City of the Living Dead
The Blood on Satan's Claw
The New York Ripper
October 30 through November 1
Body Horror Shorts (part of Minneapolis Underground Film Fest)
10 p.m. October 9
Grindhouse Shorts (part of MUFF)
9:30 p.m. October 10
At the Walker Art Center:
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery of Splendor
October 30-November 1
Hotel Transylvania 2
The Final Girls